12 Best Mountain Bike Helmets – Updated Guide 2021

Top Mountain Bike Helmets- In order to enjoy mountain biking to the fullest, you need to be fully prepared and having a really good helmet is crucial to the process. In this guide we will discuss some of the best mountain bike helmets in the market and all necessary required to make a sound purchase.

Mountain biking is not just a hobby, it is a passion and in order to pursue your passion, you need to be fully prepared. Being out there on the road, riding your bike, you can never what is going to happen next, but there is one thing that you can do- be able to fight the unknown, that is why preparation is key.

We all know, having the best bike at your side is the main important thing but people take their helmets for granted. What makes the perfect mountain bike helmet, the one that offers the best head protection, this is very crucial when you are out on the trail, protection goes a long way if you have an accident or crash.

Bike Helmets are very essential pieces of safety gear and they should be given the exact same preference as mountain bikes or any other bike. Some people think that head bumps are minor, they go away but you would be surprised with the symptoms you would be getting later on.

No matter how good a bike helmet is, it can’t fully eradicate the head injuries you might suffer in an accident. That is why we always have to make sure to get the best quality bike helmet so that if there IS a crash, the brain and head trauma will be drastically reduced.

Going to the market and looking for that perfect mountain bike helmet is going to be tricky, trust me, I have been there and done that. Luckily, this guide has been put together for your convenience so that you can make a sound decision.

This guide has compiled some of the top-rated bike helmets for different categories like enduro/trail, downhill, or cross-country. Let’s get started!

Best Mountain Bike Helmets Ranked:

S/N Helmets Why we love it Price (MSRP)
1. Troy Lee Designs Stylish, Aesthetically Pleasing $545
2. Scott Centric Plus Aerodynamic, Budget-Friendly $200
3. Bontrager Starvos WaveCel Technology, Affordable $100
4. Giro Artex MIPS, Detachable Visor $130
5. POC Axion Comfortable, Ventilation, SPIN $150
6. Bell Super 3R MIPS, Full-Face Protection $225
7. Giro Chronicle MIPS, Affordable $64.95
8. POC Tectal Aramid Fiber, Anti-Sweat $179.95 – $190
9. Smith Optics Forefront Lightweight, MIPS $240 $192
10. Giro Hex Affordable, Great Ventilation $80
11. Giro Tyrant Comfortable, Safety Features $150
12. B’Twin  Affordable, Enhanced Stability $50

1. Troy Lee Designs D4- Editor’s Choice

Price: MSRP $545

As you have come here looking for the best bike helmets, you may recognize Troy Lee Designs, the industry veterans that make amazing, top-of-the-line downhill and motocross helmets. This is one of the best products that money can buy, this is the maximum level of comfort, safety, and quality, it just doesn’t get any better than this. 

Their D4 helmet just shows how protective helmets can be, the design is just so amazing. Even if the price is too much for some, the company even makes cheaper composite versions of the helmet so that everyone can afford it. Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • Very Stylish, Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Top-Notch Performance
  • Comfortable Design
  • Top Industry Standard

Cons

  • Too Expensive

Ventilation is made so easy and comfortable thanks to 20 intake and exhaust ports. Flexibility is prioritized here as the helmet is available in different sizes. The D4 helmet also has the option to add some graphics on it, customization is once again king. If you are not satisfied with the default colors, you can always choose different color schemes to go with your preference.

 

Editor's Choice: Troy Lee Designs is one of the best makers of helmets and I was immediately sold on their D4 helmet, made actually for racing, this helmet fits perfectly for every kind of occasion. The exhaust ports are nice and offer stable ventilation, and we also tried this helmet for dummy crashes, the results were very impressive!

2. Scott Centric Plus

Scott Centric Plus
Scott Centric Plus

Price: MSRP $200

Ahh, the Scott Centric Plus, this helmet has been on my mind for some time, and now it has made its way to the list. Are you looking for the perfect bike helmet for marathon racing or just cross-country adventures? Then you should take a look at the Scott Centric Plus!

Constructed with lightweight materials, and with an amazing aerodynamic design, the helmet proves that it is ready for anything. The fact that it has been used by professional racers like Kate Courtney shows that this is one of the best XC bike helmets. Some of the best features of the bike are:

  • Comfortable Aerodynamic Design
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Comes with MIPS Technology

Cons

  • The Aesthetics aren’t THAT pleasing

Not many bikes use the aerodynamic approach, which is not the case with the Centric Plus, which is also one of the many reasons that it is unique. The shape isn’t the only awesome feature of the helmet, the inclusion of the MIPS technology offers additional support and protection against accidents and crashes.

Fun design, large vents to keep you cool during everything make this an awesome bike that you should definitely try out!

 

Why I Like It: The Scott Centric is one of the best bike helmets that you can get, it isn't that much expensive either. One of the main reasons that I love it so much is because of the aerodynamic design, not many helmets do that. It also offers enhanced protection because of the MIPS technology.

3. Bontrager Starvos

Price: MSRP $100

The Bontrager Starvos is one of the best budget helmets that you would come across, I mean with their new WaveCel technology, who wouldn’t buy it? If you didn’t know before, WaveCel is a new type of hybrid cell-like material. During crashes and accidents, it absorbs all the technology and saves you from critical injuries.

You would be pleased to know that Bontrager also makes this helmet in a MIPS version that combines the WaveCel technology for more effectiveness. Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • WaveCel Technology
  • Budget-Friendly Price
  • Comes In Different Sizes

Cons

  • WaveCel still needs some testing 

It feels very lightweight because of the low-profile design, you would enjoy the fast performance everywhere, may it be the road or an XC racecourse.

People that are looking for great bike helmet options below the $100 margin should go with the Bontrager Starvos, it is a great option.

 

Why I Like It: You don't always have to break the bank when looking for great bike helmet options. The Bontrager Starvos proves cheap options can also offer the same premium quality, combined with the MIPS technology, this bike offers really good protection!

4. Giro Artex

Giro Artex
Giro Artex

Price: MSRP $130

You don’t always have to go with a racing bike helmet, it is okay that if you want something light and comfortable for your casual rides, and if you are looking for something like that then the Giro Artex is the perfect helmet for you. It isn’t well-optimized as other premium products but it works quite well with XC-Style riding and the price tag is just perfect!

The Giro Artex is a really fancy helmet that also comes with a fully detachable visor, which makes it perfect for any kind of riding including XC-Style. Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • MIPS Technology
  • Comes With A Detachable Visor
  • Durable Design
  • Affordable Price Tag

Cons

  • It isn’t an actual XC helmet

Giro Artex has sneakily added the “Wind Tunnel” vents that allow for enhanced ventilation. They keep you cool on all those rides and the visor protects you from the sun, I don’t think that it becomes any better than this.

No matter if you want to ride all day or just have amazing workouts, this is a must-have helmet!

 

Why I Like It: This is one of the best lightweight helmets that you can find in the market, although it isn't a pure XC helmet, it still gets the job done and the results are very impressive. The MIPS technology makes the helmet more strong while the visor protects you from the sun!

5. POC Axion

POC Axion
POC Axion

Price: MSRP $150

The Axion From POC is one of the best budget yet exemplary bikes in the market, the secret behind its amazing performance? POC’s SPIN Technology! It is an exclusive safety technology from POC that bears resemblance to the MIPS technology, although it is a bit simpler.

You won’t believe that this is still the cheapest product from POC, I mean who would? It is constructed with an aesthetically pleasing design that is combined with a top-notch design. Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • It Is Extremely Comfortable
  • Allows For Amazing Ventilation
  • SPIN Technology
  • Affordable Price Tag

Cons

  • Poor Adjustability

The POC Axion makes for a great fit for enduro and trail rides, even I was impressed by the amazing performance. This is one bike helmet that you shouldn’t miss out on!

 

Why I Like It: The MIPS technology was already amazing, but the SPIN technology makes the helmets even safer while also making things very simple. I love simple bike helmets that offer the best performance while also being reasonably priced, the AXION is one of those!

6. Bell Super 3R Mountain Bike Helmet

Super 3r
Super 3r

Price: MSRP $225

Comfort and protection are very hard to match sometimes but the Bell Super 3R Mountain Bike Helmet makes it seem so easy. This is a full-face helmet and it comes with a detachable visor, it isn’t anything like the other downhill helmets that you may have gotten used to, you can even use the full-face option without making the helmet heavy.

Let me break it down for you, the Bell Super 3R helmet is special because of many reasons. First, you get amazing ventilation and safety in a bundled package. In case of violent crashes or accidents, you can totally rely on it! Secondly, the MIPS technology and the chin bar are a wonderful addition.

Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • MIPS Technology
  • Offers Full-Face Protection
  • The Chin Bar Is Amazing 
  • Very Lightweight and Breathable 

Cons 

  • Very Expensive
  • Without The Chin Bar, It’s Useless

You can easily make the Bell Super helmet fit on your head and that too without the fear of discomfort, the float fit system of the helmet can easily be manipulated. It is a great multi-purpose bike helmet that maximizes comfort and safety.

You would not believe but the Bell Super 3R helmet has about 23 vents, and out of those six are under the brow to promote breathability, how crazy is that? The helmet is also available in different designs and colors, some are even exclusive for women!

 

Why I Like It: The Bell Super 3R helmet is one of the must-have helmets in the market, there is no one who would pass up on this. 23 vents for extreme comfort and breathability, the MIPS technology, everything points out to an immediate purchase.

7. Giro Chronicle Mountain Bike Helmet

Giro Chronicle
Giro Chronicle

Price: MSRP $64.95

There aren’t that many great budget bike helmets but the ones that are, certainly seem like premium products, The Giro Chronicle is one of those amazing helmets. It is equipped with MIPS technology and that makes sure that your skull is protected from everything. If you love riding on different kinds of terrains then the Giro Chronicle Helmet is perfect for you.

The sides and back of your helmet are going to be well-protected, thanks to the structure of the helmet. Another great thing about the bike is the adjustable visor. Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • MIPS Technology
  • Very Affordable Price Tag
  • Can Be Used With Goggles

Cons

  • Cheap Quality Visor, Doesn’t Keep Out The Sun

If you are thinking about flexibility, fret not, the Giro Chronicle comes in different sizes and a common Roc Loc fit system, there won’t be any kind of discomfort when you use the helmet. You can size up and size down according to your preferences.

For people who have irritation with sweat or any other problems, you would be pleased to know that the helmet is furnished with CoolMax, it is moisture-wicking padding, which will always make your head cool and dry. 

 

Why I Like It: The Giro Chronicle makes the premium helmets look bad by being this affordable and this much awesome. It even has MIPS technology and it costs less than a hundred bucks, if you want a comfy and protective helmet then definitely go for this one!

8. POC Tectal Mountain Bike Helmet

POC Tectal
POC Tectal

Price: MSRP $179.95 – $190

Apart from the POC Axion the POC Tectal is an amazing bike helmet that you should try, it is also packed with state-of-the-art features that you won’t find anywhere else. One of the features that make this helmet truly unique is the inclusion of the Recco reflectors. For people that don’t know about Recco Reflectors, this makes it very easy for the medical and rescue forces to find you in the case of an accident or an avalanche.

The POC Tectal bike helmet is available in different sizes so everyone can enjoy it. No matter how much you sweat, there won’t be any odor on the bike because it is constructed with an anti-odor material-Polygene. Don’t worry, your helmet will always smell pleasant. Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • Comes In Different Colors
  • Fitted With Aramid Fiber Grid that offers maximum protection
  • Constructed with Polygene- Anti-Sweat Material
  • Offers Amazing Ventilation 

Cons

  • Can’t Install Camera On It
  • No MIPS

Well, there is no MIPS on this helmet but instead, there is something better, the Aramid fiber grid. This material is used in military armor so it is quite amazing. Most of the impact is absorbed by this helmet during crashes, we tested it out thoroughly.

No matter how long you wear this helmet, you will always feel comfortable and dry, there is just no discomfort here.

 


9. Smith Optics Forefront Mountain Bike Helmet

Smith Optics Forefront
Smith Optics Forefront

Price: MSRP $240 $192

Well, Smith Optics had to make it to the list eventually as these are some of the best full-coverage bike helmets that I have ever come across, the sheer quality is top-notch and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The Smith Optics Forefront Bike Helmet is one of the safest, comfortable, and durable options that you can go for! 

This helmet is compatible with almost everything, may it be a camera, goggles, or even sunglasses, you will always get to experience the great quality Smith Optics is known for. Ventilation with the helmet is also great, although don’t get your hopes up that much.

Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • Very Lightweight 
  • Durable Design
  • Detachable Visor
  • Comes with MIPS

Cons

  • Lack of Proper Ventilation
  • Not Enough Value For Money

This is one of the few bike helmets that are constructed with Aerocore, you might be familiar with this. For those that don’t know what Aerocore is, it’s a foam technology that is a mixture between Koroyd and EPS foam, the end result is very durable and comfortable. It even absorbs 30% more at low-speed collisions or accidents.

The Aerocore doesn’t just let the helmet absorb more after-shock but also makes the helmet very lightweight so it doesn’t feel heavy when you are out on the trail.

The adjustable visor feels nice, you can take it off whenever you like, the visor also comes with Goggle Retention Strap, this makes sure that whatever eyewear you have stays in its place.

 

Why I Like It: Aerocore is a great piece of technology, I was actually shocked that the Smith Optic bike helmet is employing this technology. The only thing that I don't like about this helmet is the lack of proper ventilation, well it is there just not enough. Other than that, with the MIPS and visor, everything feels great!

10. Giro Hex Mountain Bike Helmet

Giro Hex Helmet
Giro Hex Helmet

Price: MSRP $80

The Giro Hex is yet another comfortable and lightweight option for riders that don’t want to invest in something that is expensive. No matter if you take long rides, the hex helmet is constructed with top-notch materials that will make sure that you get the best measures of safety and comfort.

With the Giro Hex, you don’t need to worry about adjustability or ventilation. It has 17 dedicated vents for the promotion of breathability and airflow, you will always remain cool on those long rides. You can also fit the helmet to your head size so it is always adjustable.

Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • Affordable Price Tag
  • Great Ventilation and Air Flow
  • Adjustable Visor
  • Very Comfortable Design

Cons

  • Outdated Design

Now that I have talked so much about so many components, it is time to shift our focus to the A P.O.V. visor, it comes complimentary with the Giro helmet and acts as an effective shield against the sun. Not only will the visor protect you from the harmful rays but also from bushes and branches while you have your fun on the trail.

The Giro Hex is a comfortable and safe option for riders that want a really good helmet but don’t actually want to spend that much! 

 

Why I Like It: As I discussed with you guys before, there are not many cheap mountain bike helmets but the Giro hex proves to be yet another exemplary one. The best thing that I loved about the Hex is the A P.O.V. visor, it does so much more than just protect you from the Sun. Although the design is a bit outdated the performance is still very nice!

11. Giro Tyrant Mountain Bike Helmet

Giro Tyrant MIPS Adult Mountain Cycling Helmet
Giro Tyrant MIPS Adult Mountain Cycling Helmet

Price: MSRP $150

The Tyrant is another great bike from Giro, but things have changed this time. Giro Tyrant has an updated modern design, it offers great protection but it is a tad heavy than the other products from Giro. Ventilation is also okayish, I mean it gets the job done but isn’t that much special as the Giro Hex helmet.

The design of the helmet is top-notch though, it employs MIPS technology in its construction so that your brain is always protected in the case of an accident or crash. Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  •  Very Comfortable 
  • Offers Great Coverage
  • Great Safety Guaranteed

Cons

  • Not A Very Good Design

Some people might not be wowed by the overall design of the bike helmet but I dig it, it is a mix of old and new looks, fits perfectly when you are out on rides.

The extra coverage that you get with the helmet is priceless I would tell you, but you could get sweaty if you ride with it long enough.

 

Why I Like It: The products from Giro are amazing and the Tyrant offers great protection and comfort. I honestly want more coverage whenever I go out on rides and the Tyrant offers that, the sweat is worth it!

12. B’Twin All Mountain

BTwin All Mountain
BTwin All Mountain

Price: MSRP $50

What if I told you that you could get an awesome mountain bike helmet in or under $50, well you would say I am crazy. The B’Twin All Mountain Bike Helmet proves that you can get premium products at a wonderful price! It offers safety, great coverage and doesn’t bug you when you are out on the trails.

Some of the best features of the helmet are:

  • Enhanced Stability
  • Great Comfort 
  • Affordable Price Tag

Cons

  • Lack of Proper Ventilation, Gets Very Hot 

If you have a nice pair of riding glasses, you would be pleased to know that the B’Twin helmet is compatible with all types of riding glasses.

The only downfall that I felt with the bike helmet is that it could get very hot on long rides as there was a lack of proper ventilation. Other than that, this is a helmet that you really shouldn’t miss out on.

 

Why I Like It: Sometimes I really don't want to break the bank in order to get a good enough bike helmet. I don't take that many long rides so the B'Twin is perfect for me, it offers the coverage I need and the comfort+safety is top-notch. It was definitely a must-have for me!

How To Choose The Perfect Mountain Bike Helmet

Did you know that back in the day when technology wasn’t that much advanced, people used to wrap foam around their heads for protection during bike rides, that sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? You would not believe how much far the aspects of comfort, safety, and reliability have come for mountain bike helmets. The relics of the past have nothing to do with the modern bike world, that is why we let technology decide the best products for us.

There is so much common in mountain bike helmets and mountain bikes, in order to find the perfect one for yourself you have to try them out yourself, ride them, experiment with them thoroughly! Your personal preferences will say a lot here, trust me.

Before you go to the market to look for the perfect mountain bike helmet, you will ask yourself this question- How is this the perfect one? We are here to answer your question and make sure that you actually find the perfect helmet for yourself. 

Following are the aspects that you have to consider when choosing the perfect mountain bike helmet!

The Helmet Safety Standards Are Very Crucial 

We start with the safety standards for bike helmets, nothing in the world now sells without the proper guidelines and standards that have to be met. Think of them as quality control, without their proper approval, the product won’t even make it to manufacturing.

Every consumer product, this includes bike helmets have to pass/meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These standards have to be followed at least in the United States as other countries have made their own standards. The following protocols have to be met:

  • The Helmet is fully secured and that it forms a headform 
  • Able to measure G force after a collision 
  • Able to protect to an extent that permanent head injury only occurs at 400 Gs and unconsciousness at 300 Gs
  • Stability, head straps, and coverage are fully tested

Although this isn’t enough, you will have to test out the bike helmets, dummy experiments are a good option. You can go and believe the statistics every time, sometimes you have to make the decision yourself because these lab statistics won’t tell you everything.

Bike Helmet

What is MIPS Technology?

You might be wondering about MIPS technology, we talked about it so much during our top bike helmet list. Now it is time to explain what MIPS is all about! As per the scientific explanation, “It is a thin layer between your head and the helmet, the layer allows you to rotate your head while wearing the helmet in the case of an impact”.

Although there are many alternatives to MIPS, having it is a good enough option!

Materials and Overall Construction Is Necessary

You can get everything right with the bike helmets but if you get the overall construction wrong then there is just no point! The materials and construction of the bike helmets matter a lot! There is a crushable foam liner between the head and outer shell and that is very crucial.

If you didn’t know, these foam liners are made from expanded polystyrene beads, this lessens the initial impact of a collision and slows down your head. Now, different companies make these liners adapt to slow-speed and high-speed impacts while some mix them both in one great package!

The other shell is also very important, without it on the helmet there is no helmet, just a hat! The outer shell isn’t just fancy decals and stripes/patterns, it actually protects that foam liner, and the end result is a smooth surface. The difference between cheap and expensive helmets is how they bond to the shell.

The Helmet Has To Fit

What is the point of buying a mountain bike helmet if it won’t even fit you properly? Only can see if the bike helmet fits you properly but still, it would be better if you follow these guidelines:

  • Without interrupting your vision, it should fully cover your head 
  • Your scalp should be able to move with your head
  • Make sure that the straps are tight and not loose
  • Comes in different adjustability options 
  • The Strap makes a Y shape when fastened 

There Should Be Enough Breathability/Helmet Ventilation

If you want to go on long rides with your bike helmet then you need to make sure that you don’t get hot nor sweat that much. In order to do that your helmet should promote that much breathability and ventilation.

In bike helmets, there are ventilation points that are placed very strategically so that they can allow steady airflow and make sure they exit through the points and not get stuck in. You have to keep the vents balanced, more vents don’t always mean good!

Other Things To Look Out For

Although these things aren’t that necessary for performance, they would add to the fun and comfort of your bike helmets:

  • Compatible with riding glasses
  • Has a removable chin bar
  • Adjustable/Removable visor
  • Compatible with mountable cameras

Read also:

Recap

In order to enjoy the mountain bike rides, you need to be fully equipped and you can’t be fully equipped without a proper helmet. You have to meet all the safety procedures before going on rides because anything can happen at any time, being prepared is smart and cool!

Bike helmets and bikes go hand in hand, one isn’t complete without the other. Follow these professional tips and you would always be ready:

  • Never ever go for a used helmet
  • Demo the helmet first 
  • Always get a new helmet after an accident 
  • Different terrains require different helmets 

My top pick among all the helmets is the Troy Lee Designs D4. It is the industry standard for perfection, although a tad expensive but the value is unmatched!

Although that is my own opinion, you will always find the perfect fit yourself! Happy Riding!

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